Playhouse to return for another encore

WILTON – Thanks to a “really amazing night” on Sunday, Andy’s Summer Playhouse will be open as usual this summer.

“We took in $12,350 at the gala itself,” said technical director Mark Haley.

Combined with previous fundraisers, the 38-year-old youth theater received $24,518 – more than the $20,000 needed to keep the program going.

The financial panic set in after Andy’s saw its support structure of grants, donations and student tuitions dry up, and faced the possibility of not running this summer, leading to last weekend’s fundraiser gala in Peterborough with performances featuring “Andy’s Kids,” or recent graduates of the program.Andy’s is hardly alone in scrambling for money. The recession in pinching many non-profits, cutting into their donations even as it increases the need for many of their services.

Andy’s Playhouse was started in Mason 38 years ago by several teachers and PTA members. Hundreds of its graduates can be found around the region, including many who grew up and sent their own children to the program.

Andy’s serves children from across the region, providing experiences in acting, directing, playwriting, theater, dance and puppetry.

It outgrew the Mason Town Hall and moved to the former Lion’s Club Hall in Wilton Center in 1985. The old hall has been renovated and upgraded and can seat 125 people.

Andy’s has a staff of up to 30 professional artists and about 250 students each year.

The company has applied for a nonprofit space on YouTube and will upload the whole program for anyone who missed it, Haley said.

Now that a new season is assured, he added, “The board will meet over the weekend of Jan. 10 and 11 and begin to plan out the season.”